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N.Y. Congressman wants probe of Kushner's company for alleged mistreatment of tenants

By Edgar Sandoval and Stephen Rex Brown
New York Daily News

March 19. 2018 9:14PM

NEW YORK — A member of the New York City Council on Monday slammed Jared Kushner's real estate company, charging it waged a coordinated harassment campaign to drive out rent-stabilized tenants.

Councilman Ritchie Torres said he would launch an investigation to examine how Kushner Cos. “may have averted accountability, harassed tenants and sought to use construction as a method of harassment.”

Torres' vow outside Kushner Cos. headquarters in Manhattan came one day after the tenants' rights watchdog Housing Rights Initiative revealed the real estate giant had filed paperwork falsely claiming no rent-stabilized tenants were living in 34 buildings.

“No one is above the law, no person, no company, not even the company that bears the name of one of the most powerful people in the world,” Torres said. “It is not only the deception of Kushner Companies, the scandal is the dysfunction of the city bureaucracy. These falsifications, the lies of Kushner Companies, were hidden in public view.”

The false claim came to light in contradictory paperwork filed with the Department of Buildings and Department of Finance. The company told the DOB it had no rent-regulated tenants — but tax filings indicated there were over 300 rent-regulated units in the 34 buildings.

Residents of some of the buildings complain they were subjected to relentless construction to drive them out.

“Kushner Cos. appears to be breaking the law with reckless abandon," said Aaron Carr, the executive director of Housing Rights Initiative. "Besieged by a torrent of lawsuits and investigations, a reprehensible pattern of misconduct has manifest itself across the company's 20,000 unit portfolio."

“Where there is smoke, there is Kushner,” he said.

The watchdog group has filed two class-action lawsuits against Kushner regarding Brooklyn Heights properties alleging a similar scheme.

“Valuable rent-stabilized apartments were lost to commercial gain and families were put at risk," Councilman Keith Powers said.

Kushner Cos. previously blamed the inaccurate paperwork on a third party that filed the documents.

“If mistakes or violations are identified, corrective action is taken immediately,” the company said.

Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, stepped down as CEO of the company last year before becoming a senior adviser at the White House.

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